Viva La Hop band name \ˈviːvə ˈlɑ hɑːp\

1Long live hip-hop

2Long live the hop

In the era of the rap star and the DJ, Boston hip-hop 10-piece Viva La Hop kicks it old school with a dual-MC platform, a horn section, and huge respect for their musical forefathers. Influenced by jazz, funk, and hip-hop artists alike—Herbie Hancock, James Brown, A Tribe Called Quest—Viva La Hop will rock anything from boat cruises to sold out shows with Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth and Blackalicious.

With a debut album under their belt, now they look forward to headlining Brighton Music Hall on Halloween night. “It’s a costume party,” Baylen Hernandez (aka Bo Lyriks) said. “The person in the best costume is leaving with a bunch of goodies. A CD, a shirt, and possibly a 12-foot, raw tobacco joint.” Rumor is they’ll have other special prizes, too.

As you might expect, when Viva was just starting out, they played small stages—The Phoenix Landing maybe the smallest of them all, which didn’t even have enough room for Viva La Hop’s 10 members. When I asked how they avoid running into each other, Viva’s second MC and Boston native, Philip Galeota (aka Philly G.), said, “We don’t.”

“You didn’t even make the stage,” added drummer Andrew Ellington, remembering how Bo had performed in the crowd that night.

Bo laughed. “I was like, ‘These people want me down here!’”

Viva’s origins can be traced back three summers when Andrew met keyboardist and producer Deshawn Alexander at Berklee and shared the idea of founding a multi-instrumental hip-hop group, citing The Roots as an inspiration. “He’s always making beats,” Andrew said of Deshawn. “He wakes up, makes three beats that day. Goes to sleep, makes a beat while he’s asleep.”

The stream of musical ideas is constantly flowing with so many individuals coming together in Viva La Hop, but not everything is easy. With two producers in the group—Andrew and Deshawn—consensus on a song sometimes proves difficult to reach. “These fools are like a married couple,” Bo said, motioning to the two. “Flashback to a Family Guy cutaway of Deshawn flipping a keyboard,” said Philly G, cracking a smile.

They describe their music as fun, loud, energetic, and relieving. And they practice the same way they perform: a party on stage, with each of the 10 members (hailing from 10 different states—what are the odds?) bringing something different to the mix. Andrew joked that he wants to install an onstage light system for getting the attention of his bandmates in the thick of a performance.

“We’re playing full-throttle and I’m like, ‘Bring my mom on stage!’ and Philly has no idea what I’m saying,” Andrew said. Philly explains that at the last show they brought Andrew’s mom onto the stage. “The ultimate Viva La Founder.”

More live than the third rail, Viva La Hop is electric every time they perform. So get to work on your costume and catch Viva at Brighton Music Hall on Halloween before they embark on their December tour down the east coast. Who knows, maybe you’ll win that 12-foot, raw tobacco joint. Or at least attend one hell of a party.

Long live hip-hop.

Long live Viva La Hop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.